Just like that another year of Eurovision is over (lol jokes, I taped it). The favourite, Sweden’s Loreen, won with Euphoria on 372 points, while I was left incredibly confused as to how/why Norway’s Tooji ended up at the bottom with a mere 7 points for Stay.
The adorable baking Russian grannies, Buranovskiye Babushki came second with their pop song Party for Everybody on 259 points. While Serbia’s Zeljko Joksimovic placed third with 214 points for the beautiful ballad Nije Ljubav Stvar.
The 57th Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan delivered a night of awkward hosting, eccentric costumes, fun party songs and so many ballads I lost count.
The night began with fireworks and Azerbaijani traditional instruments and dancing, neon-strobing pyrotechnics, aerial acrobatics before Ell and Nikki who won in 2011 with Running Scared, took to the stage to sing half of their song. *Yawn* still don’t know why that won last year, it’s boring…
The hosts Leila Alieva, Eldar Gasimov and Nargiz Birk-Petersen appear in white to welcome everyone to Baku Crystal Hall and Azerbaijan. Eldar looks familiar and it’s not because he looks like Charlie Pickering it’s because he was on stage singing 20 seconds ago with Nikki.
This year there are 20,000 people in the hall, 125 million viewers in Europe and AUSTRALIA and New Zealand just got a shoutout! Light your fire and let the longest running, biggest and best (in my opinion) song contest begin.
Straight off the block is a man with a rather interesting stage name, Englebert Humperdinck from the UK. The 76-year-old romantic crooner sings Love Will Set Your Free dressed in a very stylish black suit. It was a sweet song with a nice touch of flying sparks in the crucial key changing moments and beautiful classical ballet dancing in the background. But I doubt that even his decades of experience will help him get over the line. It’s just not something that would make you vote for it, even if he did pull off the final high notes.
Compact Disco from Hungary had a rock number, Sound of Our Hearts that took me a while to get into but it was alright in the end. The singer didn’t have the greatest voice.
The Albanian entrant Rona Nishliu appeared on the stage with the weirdest hair. It’s like she’s got a basket on her head with a snake wrapped around her neck. How bizarre. She sang* Suus with so much passion I thought she would start crying.
Lithunania’s Donny Montell sings Love is Blind, blindfolded because obviously we wouldn’t have got the song otherwise. Then he whips off the bejeweled blindfold and goes disco with some Michael Jackson-esque hip thrusting and dancing. I wish he was blind folded for the one-handed handstand, now THAT would have been impressive.
Cue slow piano ballad Korake Ti Znam courtesy of Maya Sar from Bosnia & Herzegovina. Look at those shoulder pads!
The crowd is going crazy, they know who’s next. It’s none other than the Buranovskiye Babushki from Russia. Party for Everybody dance, come on and dance, yeah this would go off in the clubs! They may be pensioners but they know how to get the party started. This song is so infectious, I love how it starts traditional and then straight into electro-pop, how could you not like it and the babushka dolls? I think they should have baked cookies for everyone…
Iceland’s Greta Salome & Jonsi give us the epic ballad Never Forget. It is a rather dramatic song, with a bit of violin and strong vocals. I prefer the chorus over the verses.
Ohh look its Anne Hathaway, no wait that’s Ivi Adamou from Cyprus singing La La Love. Didn’t really expect that voice from her, I though it would be higher. It’s an energetic track but probably not much of a standout. Her fairy dancers make good use of the hair donuts. I’m not quite sure why she’s dancing on a table made from books? I thought they were fairies in a garden.
France seems to struggle every year with Eurovision acts. This year’s was probably the best for them but still not really a fan of Anggun’s Echo (You And I). Like in the advertised clip, there were some guys tumbling around her in some form of acrobatics. I give her deuze point for use of the wind machine, that was blowing around her flowy dress.
Love love love Italy’s entry L’Amore È Femmina (Out Of Love) by Nina Zilli. She had a super cool hairstyle (a bit Amy Winehouse) and her song rocked, it was so catchy. What let her down was her back-up singers. They didn’t really fit her image which was a shame.
It was all about the vocals and the eyebrows for Estonia. They went for a stripped-back approach with Ott Lepland’s singing Kuula with a very beautiful and powerful voice. However, I do believe I caught myself yawning during this one.
Who needs Bieber and One Direction? Tooji from Norway just began. I can’t find a single flaw with Stay, the beat was awesome and the choreography was sharp, Tooji looked great and just the whole package was brilliant! I loved this entry I’m sure they will be in the top.
Azerbaijan gave us Sabina Babayeva, a far better entrant than last year’s winners with incredibly strong vocals. When the Music Dies, perhaps a tad dramatic title, had it all with a mix of traditional and pop sounds. Plus the lighting effects over her white dress were magical.
Eurodance time with Mandinga from Romania and their song Zeleilah. The song starts with a a very cool moon-walking bagpipe player, before getting into the super catchy rhythm. But the Latin-influenced song is sung in Spanish and English, nothing to do with Romania.
Former busker Soluna Samay from Denmark rocked the stage with her sailor hat and admiral’s jacket. While her band was equally random with the cello player straight from the hood with his new era cap and hoodie while her back up singer was half sitting on a couch…Anyway Should’ve Known Better was a nice song.
Greece is here? How could they afford an entrant? Clearly with a limited budget Eleftheria Eleftheriou was left with only half an outfit. The fun pop song Aphrodisiac was complete with Greek dancing. Unfortunately it looks like the dancer nearly dropped her at the end of the routine, so awkward.
Okay, the favourite is next, Sweden. Loreen all dramatic and everything, sings Euphoria and does some kind of contemporary dance/performing art. Loving the crab dance. Near the end of her song, which she did sing quite well, a dancer joins her. However, I think it would have been better if she was by herself to the end. I wonder if IKEA will make some kind of furniture in her honour if she does win.
I see Turkey has sent a bat-like dressed hipster with a sailors hat to sing Love Me Back. Can Bonomo has a cool alternative sound. I love when the dancers assemble to make a boat out of cloaks. (I will not make a Can can do it type pun – oh wait).
A very classy entry from Spain with Pastora Soler singing Quedate Conmigo (Stay With Me). Big voice and even bigger key change at the end which gets the crowd excited.
Germany up next with Roman Lob and his song Standing Still. You know I feel like this song is something I’ve already been hearing on the radio from bands like The Script. He really works that beanie though. Overall, I’m not sure I was really that impressed with it.
I absolutely love the footwork in This Is The Night by Kurt Calleja from Malta. And the song is pretty fun and catchy too. But the dancing is the highlight. Note to self: learn the dance for a party dance move.
Kaliopi from F.Y.R. Macedonia starts Crno I Belo off as a ballad and then halfway through changes it into a rock song, awesome change. She also has a bit of an opera voice.
If Lady Gaga had children I’d imagine they would be Jedward from Ireland. Dressed as robotic knights they sang Waterline and energetically danced around on stage. But what happened to their signature hair? I guess to make up for it they had a water fountain. I wasn’t that impressed with them this year they don’t have the strongest vocals, it’s really more about the image.
Beautifully telling a story through song, Zeljko Joksimovic from Serbia sang Nije Ljubav Stvar. It was a very powerful ballad sung with lots of emotion. The instrumentals were also uplifting. I really did love this song.
The Ukraine has got to be the weirdest entry of the night. I’m not too sure what was going on in Gaitana’s Be My Guest. Yes, she had powerful vocals but aside from that she had flowers in her hair, Native America tassle dress, back-up dancers in neon togas, it was all just chaotically uncoordinated. Also ‘be my guest’ seems to be the only lyrics in the song.
Last but not least was Pasha Parfeny with Lautar from Moldova. This entry was just a bit kooky. It was a little bit circus, a little bit gypsy and a mix of other sounds. The choreography was silly and the dancers had the best dresses of the night. I would like to have a cute dress like that! It was a fun way to end the night.
The interval act was a bit boring really. There was this massive build up to what ended up being some, local pop singer, Emin – the president’s son-in-law, who sang in English not even Azerbaijani! Talk about working your connections…He was worse than any of the Eurovision acts and the song went on for too long.
Then moving onto the voting from the 42 countries revealed Sweden’s Loreen as the winner with Euphoria. To all those complaining of bloc-voting, that kind of voting only gets you so far as you can see that a different country wins ever year. Either way I’ll bet Sweden was Euphoric with the win (haha).
So what have I learned about Azerbaijan? I didn’t really know anything about them till Eurovision 2012. They are a land of horsemen, poetry, dance, friends and have modern buildings among the old. It actually reminds me of Dubai, looks pretty cool actually.
I’m a bit sad Eurovision is over for another year. Can’t wait for next year in Stockholm, and what I can only hope will include an ABBA reunion.